One of the most significant things that I have learned is to stay hydrated. A lot of people know that they should drink more water because they know that it is healthier, but very few people really understand all the things that being dehydrated can do to negatively impact their athletic performance.
Dehydration is defined by a 2% drop from euhydration (normal state of body water content). Dehydration is associated with an adverse effect upon muscle strength, endurance, coordination, cognitive ability, and the thermoregulatory processes (body temperature) (1, 2, 3), all of which are used while playing baseball. Even mild dehydration can drain your energy and make you tired. Your body also needs water to transport the nutrients it needs throughout the body to help it recover from exercise. This is why it is very important to be adequately hydrated.
The best time to drink water is right after you wake up in the morning. You have been in bed for 8 hours and your body hasn’t had any water during that time. Drinking a large glass as soon as you wake up will help to re-hydrate after a long night and will help you to be more energized in the mornings. Another good time to drink water is before, during, and after exercise. Fluid replacement is a vital component and must be addressed in a diligent manner. In general, sports nutritionists use the following fluid recommendations (5, 4):
There are many reasons why people can’t seem to get enough water throughout the day. But these are some ways to make it easier to get the amount of water you need:
1). Carry water everywhere you go
This one is pretty simple; you can’t drink any water if you don’t have it with you. If you carry it around with you are more likely to drink it. Here is one of Amazon’s popular water bottles
2). Replace at least one non-water beverage with water a day.
For example, when you go out to eat, order water instead of soda. As an added bonus, think of all the money you’ll save!
3). Enhance your water with natural flavors.
Most people don’t like the taste of water, but adding things like lemon, lime, honey or a small amount of natural fruit juice can make bland water pretty tasty. There are countless recipes online, like cucumber water, which can help mix up the monotony of drinking plain water.
4). Get your water from food.
Foods can account for 20 percent of your total daily water intake (6). Watermelons and tomatoes for example are 90% or more water by weight.
Water consumption is one of the most important aspects in athletic performance and dehydration is one of the biggest factors keeping athletes from reaching their highest potential. You can live a month without food, but you can’t go more than a couple of days without water. This just shows how vital water is to our bodies. If you want to become the best athlete you can be, you must take care of your body, and one of the best ways to do that is to drink water.
1. Armstrong LE. Assessing hydration status: The elusive gold standard. J Am Coll Nutr 26: 575s-584s, 2006.
2. Cian C, Koulmann N, Barraud P, Raphel C, Jimeniz C, and Meli B. Influence of variations on body hydration on cognitive function: Effect of hyperhydration, heat stress, and exercise-induced dehydration. J Psychophysiol 14: 29-36, 2000.
3. Grandjean AC. Dehydration and cognitive performance. J Am Coll Nutr 26: 549s-554s, 2006.
4. McArdle WD, Katch FI, and Katch VL. Sports and Exercise Nutrition. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 1999. pp. 275-276.
5. Pivarnik JM. Water and electrolytes during exercise In: Nutrition in Exercise and Sports. Wolinsky I, ed. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 1989. pp. 185-200.
6. Mayo Clinic Staff (2012, Aug. 12) Water: How much should you drink every day? Retrieved March 12, 2013, from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/water/NU00283